Noynoying Teacher’s Pay

by Dean de la Paz, as originally posted on Blog Watch, Philippine Online Chronicles

Out of sheer disgust, and perhaps some unhealthy doses of disdain, they resorted to that one literary gerund specifically borne out an aberrant reality that inflicts intimate insult to one person and yet victimizes a multitude across-the-board, wholesale and en masse.

Benigno Aquino III probably hates the term “Noynoying” and that is understandable. Unfortunately the gerund will forever be attached to his presidency as the linguistic complement not only so aptly describes but it goes beyond and profoundly characterizes his style of governance unless a massive solar flare erases it from the world wide web or by some miracle a rogue asteroid the size of Hacienda Luisita rids us all of our earthly miseries.

That the term bears his nickname must hurt and will forever scar. But those victimized by the practice of “noynoying” hate it even more. Specially where its persistent prevalence and nauseating constancy has led to the degradation of a profession so noble as a teacher’s and a sector as critical to inclusive development as education.

And that is not only understandable, but for an increasing number, there is profound agreement if not subscription that the derogatory term “noynoying” is not only apropos but is profoundly thematic of the kind of governance inflicted on the greater public.

Deliberately degrade the teaching profession and one not only deliberately degrades society but kills its prospects for rising to a higher qualitative plane.

Recently, as events would have it, and as a direct response to executive “noynoying”, the teachers did the brave and unthinkable. But then again, they had no choice. It was borne out of sheer and festering desperation as the acts of attendant bravery, quite out of character for some of the most gentle folk in society, was something not only inevitable but perhaps, pushed to the limits and constantly victimized by an uncaring government. The gentlest folks were compelled to storm the gates and cry desperate havoc. It was the only measure left available because the notoriously bullheaded remains notoriously bullheaded.

Indeed, it was an ironic way to celebrate World Teachers Day. Typically, all over the world, the day should have been spent in peaceful dignity, honoring quiet and unsung heroes, celebrating those who cared for us, those who facilitated our second homes and nurtured us when we were most vulnerable, shaping what would be a future moulded from both the values from home and school.

More than irony and insult, the celebrations however dripped with acidic sarcasm fueled by the mockery inflicted by a government dispensation apparently poorly educated where it matters and impacts on the public welfare and inclusive economic development. Worse, the current crop running the Palace is as proficient in governance as is a mediocre college delinquent who enters public service to compensate for deep intellectual failures.

Is this any way to celebrate? On World Teachers Day teachers, educators, their students and concerned sympathizers together with members of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) marched to Malacañang, and upon its gates, they made a beeline for Gate Seven in the hopes that if they chose such a day to express their deep-felt disgust, by some remote if not miraculous chance, its enclaved residents might find good reason tear themselves away from the numbing comfort of their cordon sanitaire and at least take the time off from self-indulgent preoccupations like Playstations and gun magazines to lend a sympathetic ear to the pleas of a critical sector long denied their dignity.

Happy-World-Teachers-Day-

So much for prayers for a president who cares little for those who’ve educated him. The response from the Palace was hollow at best.

France Castro, ACT’s secretary general said, “It angers us that as we celebrate the World Teachers’ Day, the present administration is still mum on our demand for (a) salary increase. BS Aquino continue(s) to use the old alibi that there is no budget available to cover the amount needed for the increase, but we all know that huge amounts of public funds just went wasted through graft and corruption and other kinds of anomalous projects funded by the government….As a matter of fact, the proposed budget for 2015 still contains huge lump sum allocations aimed to benefit his friends, party mates and allies in the bureaucracy.”

It is increasingly difficult to bank on that crusty cliche of a government short on cash on nearly everything critical to the welfare of the public where it takes from the poor and cavalierly fattens its friends in congress so that it might pursue personal agenda and vengeance.

Aquino should really stop referring to his constituencies as his “bosses”. It is starting to sound like a disgusting lie if it wasn’t one from the very start. Note how one of the most critical sub-sector of bosses feel. Note the pain. And note the frustration.

According to Ms. Castro, “The real reason behind is disregard to our demand (SIC) is not the unavailability of funds — it is just that he does not care at all to (SIC) us. Even religious groups like the CBCP recognize our poor plight and the importance of the role we are playing in nation building.”

Political entitlement is at the core of the problem. Some bullheaded officials think that theirs is the only role worth anything. At a hearing of the Senate Committee on Education, Arts and Culture held last Oct. 1, 2014, it was revealed that the entry level monthly salary of public school teachers had long been pegged at Php 18, 549.00. Nothing had improved since 2009. Five years, even by current noynoying standards is a long time and the apparent irony simply aggravates matters.

Note the brazen insult to teachers and educators who attended those hearings. Even as the main culprit for the non-availability of funds was the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), that cabinet-level agency being responsible for the allocations of expenditures including the billions in political patronage doggy-biscuits, its officials simply snubbed the hearing.

On the part of the senate, the insult was likewise ironic. The senate committee is composed of some of the most prolifically-benefitted from Aquino’s patronage booties drawn from the illegal Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) and his even more notorious if not criminal presidential Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP). Indeed, it is increasingly difficult to believe that there are no funds for our teachers while there are billions that flow profusely for crooks, cabinet men, and other politicians.

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